In Austin, Texas, Bobby Cheatham (of Bad Birds Distance Runner) and author Liz Feezor form the synth-rock duo Candy Riot. The band cites Depeche Mode and The Eurythmics as musical influences, and their sound combines synths, guitars, drum machines, and ethereal vocals.
They concentrate on pop music with strong vocal harmonies and dance beats. They have about 100k Spotify streams, and 101X Homegrown Live has played their last 8 singles in a row.
They have already released the lead single from their upcoming debut full-length album, titled “Moonstar,” called “Only You.” The album will be released in late August. Check out the lead single and the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you all come from and how it all got started?
Candy Riot: We started as a duo, under a different band name, with intentions of having fun and creating musical art. A few shows were played and we realized our live performance needed more wind, and our initial band name (AI) made us impossible to find online. Several weeks and hundreds of potential names later, we changed the name and started our search for a vocalist and synth player. Ricky and Erica impressed and were added to the band just in time to release our first LP ‘Moonstar’, which comes out August 31st.
2. Did you guys have any formal training or are you self-taught?
Candy Riot: We have some formal training in being hermits (ha) and self-taught ourselves how to play instruments. One of us has formal musical training.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘CANDY RIOT’?
Candy Riot: We are in love with Byrne, Bowie, and Gahan as they’ve narrated many of our musical memories.
Candy Riot is phonetically fun and captures our ethos, and we think it fits our vibe (and others agree!)
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
Candy Riot: Dance beats, 80’s bass lines, double synths, dreamy guitar riffs, and soaring three part harmonies.
6. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
We take emotions and give them a soundtrack, and hopefully listeners like the songs and resonate with them. It feels good when they’re played on the radio and when friends come to shows. The band has given us great opportunities to create art, befriend other musicians, and spend more time having fun.
7. Could you describe your creative processes? How do you usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
We awake with the hope of remembering a dream for long enough to write down what went down. Then we’ll video call to write lyrics and take them to the piano. In the studio we’ll plug in, twist knobs, and kill musical sketches until landing on an option that feels most like the words.
8. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
Candy Riot: Finding truth in a disinformation age & trying to launch a band in a pandemic both suck in many ways.
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